Non-profit

Center of the American Experiment

Website:

americanexperiment.org

Location:

Golden Valley, MN

Tax ID:

36-3611426

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $2,347,714
Expenses: $2,247,617
Assets: $1,075,506

Formation:

1989

Type:

Non-profit

President:

John Hinderaker

President's Salary:

$150,000[34]

The Center of the American Experiment (CAE) is a non-partisan public policy think tank that supports policies promoting free enterprise, limited government, and individual liberty in Minnesota. CAE researches and publishes papers on Minnesota’s economy, health care, education, state and local governance, and employee freedom. CAE also proposes policy approaches, drafts proposed legislation, and lobbies to further its agenda. [1]

The Center of the American Experiment is an affiliate member of the State Policy Network, a coalition of free-market state-level policy organizations. [2] While CAE is non-partisan, members of its staff and board have affiliations with the Republican Party.

Activity

The Center of the American Experiment is a non-partisan public policy think tank that supports policies promoting free enterprise, limited government, and individual liberty in Minnesota. CAE publishes research and proposes solutions on policy related to Minnesota’s economy, health care, education, state and local governance, and employee freedom. [3]

CAE advocates for the legalization of nuclear power plants in Minnesota, claiming that wind and solar power are not efficient ways to “generate less carbon dioxide free energy.” CAE claims that the new nuclear power plant in the United Arab Emirates will decarbonize the electricity sector quicker than Minnesota’s wind turbines. [4]

CAE advocates for school choice policies, including voucher programs. CAE claims that public schools would actually benefit from school choice programs and cites a working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research in support of this claim. [5]

CAE advocates for healthcare policy that would establish individually owned health insurance plans. CAE supports efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, including a 2017 executive order signed by President Donald Trump, which directed federal agencies to expand access to association health plans, ease restrictions on short-term, limited-duration insurance (STLDI), and allow health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) to pay for individual-market premiums pre-tax. [6]

CAE supports a limited government, claiming that both business regulations and occupational licensing requirements negatively impact low-income individuals by raising the prices of necessary goods and services. [7]

CAE is the publisher of Thinking Minnesota, a free quarterly magazine. [8]

Funding

The Center of the American Experiment is funded by donations from individuals, businesses, and foundations. Notable donations have come from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation,[9] the Minneapolis Foundation,[10] and the Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund. [11]

Staff

John Hinderaker works as president of the Center of the American Experiment and formerly was its board chair (1998-2000). Hinderaker is a former lawyer and the founder of the conservative blog Power Line. [12]

Katherine Kersten is a senior policy fellow at CAE and formerly was its board chair (1996-1998). Kersten is a former columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. [13]

Tom Steward is a government accountability reporter for CAE. Steward formerly served as a regional communications director for the 2008 McCain presidential campaign and for Norm Coleman’s 2002 U.S. Senate campaign. [14]

Mitch Pearlstein formerly worked as president of CAE. Pearlstein formerly served as a director of outreach for the Office of Educational Research and Improvement at the Department of Education, as a special assistant for policy and communications to former Governor Al Quie (R-MN), and as a research fellow at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. [15]

Isaac Orr works as a policy fellow at CAE. Orr formerly served as a research fellow at the Heartland Institute and as an aide in the Wisconsin State Senate. [16]

Catrin Wigfall is a policy fellow at CAE. Wigfall formerly participated in the Koch Fellow Program at the Charles Koch Institute, formerly was a journalism fellow at the California Policy Center, and formerly taught with Teach for America. [17]

Martha Njolomole is an economist at CAE and formerly served as a research assistant at the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy. [18]

Katie Fulkerson is the communications director at CAE and formerly served as the communications director for the Minnesota Senate Republican Caucus. [19]

Kristen Sheehan is a development consultant at CAE and formerly served as caucus director for former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN), political director for former U.S. Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN), and finance director for the unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign of Republican Mike McFadden. [20] Sheehan is a co-founder and partner at KK & Co. [21]

Charlie Nickoloff serves as the finance director and on the board of CAE. Nickoloff formerly served as a vice president of Minnesota Solar Connection. [22]

Micah Olson serves as the Greater Minnesota outreach director at CAE. Olson formerly served as a legislative assistant at the Minnesota House of Representatives, as a field staffer for the Minnesota House Republican Campaign Committee, and as a field director for the Jeff Johnson for Governor campaign. [23]

Tom Mason serves as the editor and publisher of Thinking Minnesota, CAE’s magazine. Mason formerly served as chief of staff to former Senators Norm Coleman (R-MN) and Jim Abdnor (R-SD), as director of communications and research at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and as a communications director for former Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN). [24]

Kathryn Hinderaker serves as the event coordinator at CAE. Hinderaker is a former participant in the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation, former president of the St. Olaf College Republicans, and former state chair of the Minnesota College Republicans. [25]

Jeff Johnson is an adjunct policy fellow at CAE and as a Hennepin County Commissioner. Johnson was the Republican nominee for Minnesota governor in 2014 and 2018 and formerly served in the Minnesota House of Representatives. [26]

Board of Directors

Board chair Ron Eibensteiner formerly served as chair of the Minnesota Republican Party. [27]

Board member Molly Corrigan Cronin formerly served as co-chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota’s Elephant Club fundraising committee. [28] Cronin has contributed nearly $13,000 to Republican campaigns between 2012 and 2020. [29]

Ronald Schutz formerly served as chair of the board of CAE, as chair of the Minnesota Commission on Judicial Selection, and as chair of the board of Tim Pawlenty’s 2012 presidential campaign. [30]

Ben Wilmoth formerly served as a consultant at the George W. Bush Presidential Center and as executive assistant to the White House chief of staff during the George W. Bush Administration. [31] Wilmoth also serves as the co-chair of the Young Leadership Council at CAE. [32]

Anne Mason-Yoder serves as co-chair of the Young Leadership Council at CAE and as senior director of communications at the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. Mason-Yoder formerly served as political director for Erik Paulsen’s 2008 congressional campaign, communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee, and a special assistant for tax and budget policy at the Department of the Treasury. [33]

References

  1. “About Center of the American Experiment.” American Experiment, 2016. Accessed December 9, 2020. https://www.americanexperiment.org/about/. ^
  2. “The Network: Minnesota.” State Policy Network, 2020. Accessed December 8, 2020. https://spn.org/directory/#MN. ^
  3. “About Center of the American Experiment.” American Experiment, 2016. Accessed December 9, 2020. https://www.americanexperiment.org/about/. ^
  4. Orr, Isaac. “Large Nuclear Reactor Reaches Full Power in United Arab Emirates.” American Experiment, December 11, 2020. Accessed December 11, 2020. https://www.americanexperiment.org/2020/12/large-nuclear-reactor-reaches-full-power-in-united-arab-emirates/. ^
  5. Wigfall, Catrin. “School choice program benefits public school students.” American Experiment, March 3, 2020. Accessed December 11, 2020. https://www.americanexperiment.org/2020/03/school-choice-program-benefits-public-school-students/. ^
  6. Nelson, Peter. “Trump signs executive order to begin replacing Obamacare with better health care choices.” American Experiment, October 12, 2017. Accessed December 11, 2020.  https://www.americanexperiment.org/2017/10/trump-signs-executive-order-begin-replacing-obamacare-better-health-care-choices/. ^
  7. Njolomole, Martha. “The regressive effect of regulation.” American Experiment, December 9, 2020. Accessed December 11, 2020. https://www.americanexperiment.org/2020/12/the-regressive-effect-of-regulation/. ^
  8. “Thinking Minnesota.” American Experiment, 2016. Accessed December 9, 2020. https://www.americanexperiment.org/thinking-minnesota/. ^
  9. Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Return of Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2012-2018, Part XV, Line 3. ^
  10. Minneapolis Foundation, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990), 2013-2018, Schedule I, Part II. ^
  11. Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990), 2017-2019, Schedule I, Part II. ^
  12. “John Hinderaker.” American Experiment, 2016. Accessed December 9, 2020. https://www.americanexperiment.org/about/john-hinderaker/. ^
  13. “Kathy Kersten.” American Experiment, 2016. Accessed December 9, 2020. https://www.americanexperiment.org/about/kathy-kersten/. ^
  14. “Tom Steward.” American Experiment, 2016. Accessed December 9, 2020. https://www.americanexperiment.org/about/tom-steward/. ^
  15. “Mitch Pearlstein.” American Experiment, 2016. Accessed December 9, 2020. https://www.americanexperiment.org/about/mitch-pearlstein/. ^
  16. “Isaac Orr.” American Experiment, 2016. Accessed December 9, 2020. https://www.americanexperiment.org/about/isaac-orr/. ^
  17. “Catrin Wigfall.” LinkedIn, 2020. Accessed December 9, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/catrin-wigfall-0919045a/. ^
  18. “Marta Njolomole.” American Experiment, 2016. Accessed December 9, 2020. https://www.americanexperiment.org/about/martha-njolomole/. ^
  19. “Katie Fulkerson.” American Experiment, 2016. Accessed December 9, 2020. https://www.americanexperiment.org/about/katie-fulkerson-1/. ^
  20. “Kristen Fuzer Sheehan.” American Experiment, 2016. Accessed December 9, 2020. https://www.americanexperiment.org/about/kristen-fuzer-sheehan/. ^
  21. “Kristen Sheehan.” LinkedIn, 2020. Accessed December 9, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristen-sheehan/. ^
  22. “Charlie Nickoloff.” American Experiment, 2016. Accessed December 9, 2020. https://www.americanexperiment.org/about/charlie-nickoloff/. ^
  23. “Micah Olson.” American Experiment, 2016. Accessed December 9, 2020. https://www.americanexperiment.org/about/micah-olson-2/. ^
  24. “Tom Mason.” American Experiment, 2016. Accessed December 9, 2020. https://www.americanexperiment.org/about/tom-mason/. ^
  25. “Kathryn Hinderaker.” American Experiment, 2016. Accessed December 9, 2020. https://www.americanexperiment.org/about/kathryn-hinderaker/. ^
  26. “Jeff Johnson.” American Experiment, 2016. Accessed December 9, 2020. https://www.americanexperiment.org/about/jeff-johnson-2/. ^
  27. Johnson, Scott. “The Purloined Letter.” Power Line, November 21, 2005. Accessed December 9, 2020. https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2005/11/the-purloined-letter.php. ^
  28. Scheck, Tom. “Minnesota leadership team organizes behind Fiorina.” Minnesota Public Radio, September 24, 2015. Accessed December 9, 2020. https://www.mprnews.org/story/2015/09/24/minnesota-leadership-team-organizes-behind-fiorina. ^
  29. “Molly Corrigan Cronin.” The Center for Responsive Politics, 2020. Accessed December 9, 2020. https://www.opensecrets.org/search?order=desc&q=Molly+Corrigan+Cronin&sort=A&type=donors. ^
  30. “Ronald J. Schultz.” Robins Kaplan LLP, 2020. Accessed December 9, 2020. https://www.robinskaplan.com/professionals/s/ronald-schutz. ^
  31. “Ben Wilmoth.” LinkedIn, 2020. Accessed December 9, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/bentonwilmoth/. ^
  32. “About Center of the American Experiment.” American Experiment, 2016. Accessed December 8, 2020. https://www.americanexperiment.org/about/. ^
  33. “Anne Mason Yoder.” LinkedIn, 2020. Accessed December 9, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/annemasonyoder/. ^
  34. Center of the American Experiment, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990), 2019, Part VII. ^

Coalition Memberships

  1. State Policy Network (SPN)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: April 1, 1989

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Dec Form 990 $2,347,714 $2,247,617 $1,075,506 $158,709 N $2,192,685 $110,735 $238 $511,855 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $1,843,336 $1,591,232 $909,217 $92,517 N $1,841,454 $1,675 $207 $483,486 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $1,196,118 $1,087,451 $659,344 $94,748 N $1,195,040 $715 $363 $318,272 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $1,243,963 $1,125,952 $557,057 $101,128 N $1,236,716 $4,505 $1,242 $326,070 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $1,114,215 $926,287 $435,634 $97,716 N $1,112,681 $1,300 $234 $315,225 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $1,116,632 $972,969 $318,172 $168,182 N $1,111,566 $4,509 $220 $296,125 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $799,736 $770,575 $201,334 $195,007 N $790,412 $5,780 $187 $217,272 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Center of the American Experiment

    8421 WAYZATA BLVD STE 110
    Golden Valley, MN 55426-1353